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England glad to prove women's rugby doubters wrong

By PA
Press Association

Abby Dow insists England are happy to continue building support on the road despite drawing a record crowd to Twickenham for Saturday’s Grand Slam triumph over France.

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The Red Roses clinched a fifth consecutive Tik Tok Six Nations title after toppling their biggest rivals in the Championship 38-33 with 58,498 watching from the stands – the highest total recorded for a woman’s game.

It has raised the possibility of selling out the ground before the Rugby Football Union’s target of attracting a full house for the 2025 World Cup final.

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But Dow, who scored the opening try against France, believes there is still great value in playing at club venues such as Kingston Park and Franklin’s Gardens, which were used earlier in the tournament.

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“One thing we are really trying to work on as a team is making our own brand and making something that is actually viable,” the 25-year-old Harlequins wing said.

“At the end of the day, professional rugby is about the financial situation as well. Yes we can get 58,000 people coming down to Twickenham, but that’s for Le Crunch.

“We need to get that consistently for every single Six Nations game. When we get that, that’s when we can actually bring it to Twickenham.

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“But what we are doing now by going across the country is inspiring people throughout the country, which is something we don’t quite get to see as much with the men’s team. We are more than happy to continue doing that as well.

“Women’s rugby – you’ve heard it for the last five years that we are on the up and no-one ever quite believed it, but now people are really starting to believe.

“Now we are breaking those targets and if we can do it (sell out Twickenham) before the World Cup then that would be incredible.”

Simon Middleton celebrated a triumphant finale in his final match as head coach – a role he has held since 2015.

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“We’ve had some great successes and we’ve had some failures and that’s sport. This game typified everything,” Middleton said.

“When you looked around the stadium and saw 58,498 people, the energy in he ground, I couldn’t have been prouder. This is a good place to step out.”

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